No Time To Die star Daniel Craig bid a teary adieu to James Bond when the filming wrapped in 2019. Now, No Time To Die is finally hitting theaters on October 8, and folks are already wondering who will be the next 007. As other iconic film franchises have brought in women leads for previously male-led roles to varied success (Ghostbusters, Ocean’s Eight, and soon Indiana Jones), the conversation around a woman Bond has arisen once again. However, Craig thinks there should be well-written roles created with women and POC in mind specifically, versus bringing them into the fold now.
“The answer to that is very simple,” Craig says in an interview with Radio Times. “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”
It’s a compelling argument that has been misconstrued as people saying Craig thinks a woman could never play a sophisticated and stoic character like Bond. What the actor actually points out is women and people of color deserve: 1) more lead roles in general and 2) should have better opportunities than taking over a pre-existing male-dominated franchise.
No Time To Die will differ from the 007 films before it, as Lashana Lynch enters the cast as the first Black woman “00" agent. Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge joined the writing team for No Time To Die, hoping to elevate the women’s roles. Craig gives kudos to the writer’s sensibilities and how they shine in the forthcoming installment.
“She’s got devilish humor. Her influence permeates a lot of this film. She walked that fantastic line of keeping it as a thriller and being very funny,” Craig said. “But Phoebe didn’t come in to change Bond. She came in to spice it up for sure, but she’s a Bond fan—she wasn’t about to take him in a different direction.”
Nonetheless, all previous Bonds have been portrayed by a middle-aged white man, so there is a lot of room for changes as the franchise moves forward. However, much of what Craig gets at has been echoed by Bond franchise producers, who are adamant in their stance that Bond will always be played by a man.
“He can be of any color, but he is male… I believe we should be creating new characters for women—strong female characters,” Barbara Broccoli told Variety last year. “I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”